I love penguins....2 Dec to 5 Dec

Trip Start Sep 09, 2010
Trip End May 28, 2011

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Flag of Argentina  , Chubut,
Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday 2nd December

The sun is shining when we arrive, Katharina is I think more addicted to the internet than I am!, so we spend hours hanging around the hostal and then some time walking around the town. However, there really isn't much to do and there is a power cut of all things. We are starving...but eventually find a restaurant that has electricity and sells wine...two essentials in my book. At the hostal we have a choice of two tours for tomorrow. One is where we visit the national park and penguins, and the other includes a boat ride to see whales. Both Katharina and I have seen whales before, me twice in Boston and New Zealand and K in Boston too and South Africa.  So we decide to go for the cheaper option.  I’m getting bored now of just hanging around. I think I am mentally preparing to start my journey home.  And not long to go, a week  and I’ll be on the plane back to the UK, weather permitting,  as heard that UK and parts of Europe have been hit by early snow storms....Great news Jay has booked to come to Hurghada on Egypt Red Sea resort with Ellie and Claire to celebrate New Year’s Eve, Alaas birthday and my 40th. Can’t wait but now I have to try and book into the same hotel.

Friday 3rd December

Yet another early start up for 6.30am and out by 7.30, as well has having to check out. The owner won’t let us store our luggage in the safe so we leave it in a cupboard in the kitchen area, sometimes you just have to be trusting...so far we have been ok. We get a mini bus from the hostal along with other guests and head to Penisula Valdes – the cost is 170 peso just over 30 English pounds for the full-day tour and 70 peso for entrance to the national park. We have a great guide, who speaks excellent English and has a good sense of humour. He was well informed about the history of the area and the wildlife. We saw an abundance of wildlife...sealions, elephant seals, foxes and lots of penguins. OMG I love penguins. I couldn’t believe it when I saw them up close for the first time, excluding a zoo... they didn’t look real, they looked more like stuffed waxworks, but they were real. Fab well worth coming to see.  We were the only ones who didn’t go on the whale watch, which is a shame as they actually saw quite a few. But been there, seen it got the t-shirt.  We chilled out in the sun with a large glass of red wine instead.   A long night ahead of us.

We get back to the hostal around 7.30pm, apparently there were lots of buses running to Buenos Aries every evening, but I had only managed to book us on this one particular bus, online from Ushuaia, just to make sure, which was leaving at 1am. Katharina was hogging the PC again and I was just so bored just sitting around, so I went for a walk into the town. I found an internet cafe and tried to book the hotel in Hurghada. Success I find it and book it, and then to my horror after confirmation of payment email came through I discover I’d booked the wrong hotel...the Ali Ba Ba Beach Resort, instead of the Ali Ba Ba Palace...Ah well it is midnight and I’m tired. I immediately email to cancel it...fingers crossed. I then try and book the correct hotel but my visa card now won’t work. I suspect that my bank has seen it as a dodgy transaction. I will have to sort it out tomorrow.  We get a taxi to the bus station. No-one is around except for a few people I guess are travelling with us to Buenos Aires.  But the bus does not arrive on time. We find the bus company office and discover it is running about 45 mins late...it turns up at 1.40am we are shattered.

Saturday 4th December

After days of trying to get hold of Aerosur to confirm my flight to La Paz, I eventually get through to someone who speaks English but I think he is in sales and keeps telling me there are no flights available, only on first class. I am beginning to get worried that my seat will be double booked and I  won’t be able to fly on Sunday. Why are things so complicated, its times like this I really wish I spoke Spanish.  Slept most of the journey, it felt much longer than the 18 or so hours and really dragged.  I’m now aching from all these overnight journeys they are so bloody uncomfortable, I so yearn for a comfy bed and a relaxing soak in a bath.  At least we don’t change buses. We get to Buenos Aries around 9pm. I have booked a very cheap hostal for about 30 pesos, cheap as chips...We get a taxi which is 45 peso. BA appears to be a large, sprawling metropolis, I’m sure if I had time I’d get to like it, as it is I will be leaving tomorrow afternoon. I pay the taxi driver with a 100 peso and get 55 back, I later find out at the hostal that the 50 peso note (10) change he gave me is a fake...didn’t notice but when you look close its just like monopoly money! Oh well its the first and only time it happened.

We are tired and just want to chill out but we find that the hostal is full of screaming 12 year old girls and we have to share a tiny dorm with 3 blokes and only top bunks available....not my idea of fun especially when all you want to do is go to sleep.  Not looking forward to going to bed.  I can’t even find a spare locker to store my personal belongings...I get a bit upset with the young guys on the front desk...as we asked if we could change rooms but it is fully booked. The young girls are staying there because of some dance festival, I don’t think it is normally full of children.  I think they knew I was pissed off and they gave us a huge bottle of beer to say sorry, how sweet.  Didn’t end up going to bed till gone 2am.

Sunday 5th December

Managed to get a few hours sleep as thankfully the guys didn’t snore, but get up early so that we can get in the shower before the kids all awake, so feel like and clean and refreshed. But still worried about the flight, not normally like this but just not overly confident that it is confirmed and I’m sure the paperwork stipulated you had to do so, just hoping the emails I sent went through ok. I even get the guys on the front desk to try the customer services number in Bolivia for me, but even they can’t get through.  As I just want to get to the airport in the least stressful way as possible, I decide to splash out and pay for a taxi to take me there, rather than go to the bus station. It was a bit pricey 160 peso about 35 pounds, but got air-conditioned car all the way there.  Before I left Katharina and I went for a walk and sat in a park soaking up the sun rays for an hour or so. We said our goodbyes, I think considering we didn’t know each other, we did pretty well as travelling companions and I would never had seen the sights I saw if I had not met her. I hope that we will keep in touch and remain friends. It will be interesting to see where she ends up.  If she carries on with her plans then she will be in Australia the same time as me, maybe even Melbourne in April .If not then I look forward to seeing her in another part of the world sometime soon.

I get to the airport around 1pm so plenty of time for my 4pm flight. All is ok with ticket, no need to worry my name is on the passenger list. Hurray. I sit next to a pleasant chatty Argentine man, Edwardo who spoke very good English, so the flight literally flies by. We have a very short (1 hr) connection in Santa Cruz and I arrive in La Paz at 8pm. I’m at Arthy’s just after 8.30pm.  I have an early night.
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